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SU(3) symmetry and Baryon

wave functions

Sedigheh Jowzaee

PhD seminar- FZ Juelich, Feb 2013

• Fundamental symmetries of our universe

• Symmetry to the quark model:

– Hadron wave functions
– Existence q q̄ (mesons) and qqq (baryons)

• Idea: extend isospin symmetry to three flavors (Gell-Mann,

Ne’eman 1961)

• SU(3) flavour and color symmetry groups

Unitary Transformation

• Invariant under the transformation

– Normalization:
U is unitary

– Prediction to be unchanged:
Commutation U & Hamiltonian

• Define infinitesimal transformation

(G is called the generator of the transformation)

Symmetry and conservation
• Because U is unitary

G is Hermitian, corresponds to an observable

• In addition:
G is conserve
Symmetry conservation law
For each symmetry of nature there is an observable conserved quantity
• Infinitesimal spatial translation: ,

Generator px is conserved

• Finite transformation
• Heisenberg (1932) proposed : (if “switch off” electric charge of proton )
There would be no way to distinguish between a proton and neutron

– p and n have very similar masses

– The nuclear force is charge-independent

• Proposed n and p should be considered as two states of a single entity


Analogous to the spin-up/down states of a spin-1/2 particle

Isospin: n and p form an isospin doublet (total isospin I=1/2 , 3rd component
Flavour symmetry of strong interaction
• Extend this idea to quarks: strong interaction treats all quark flavours
– Because mu≈md (approximate flavour symmetry)
– In strong interaction nothing changes if all u quarks are replaced by d quarks
and vs.

– Invariance of strong int. under u d in isospin space (isospin in conserved)

– In the language of group theory the four matrices form the U(2) group
• one corresponds to multiplying by a phase factor (no flavour transformation)
• Remaining three form an SU(2) group (special unitary) with det U=1 Tr(G)=0
• A linearly independent choice for G are the Pauli spin matrices
• The flavour symmetry of the strong interaction has the same
transformation properties as spin.
• Define isospin: ,

• Isospin has the exactly the same properties as spin (same mathematics)
– Three correspond observables can not know them simultaneously
– Label states in terms of total isospin I and the third component of isospin I3

: generally

d u u d

System of two quarks: I3=I3(1)+I3(2) , |I(1)-I(2)| ≤ I ≤ |I(1)+I(2)|

Combining three ud quarks
– First combine two quarks, then combine the third
– Fermion wave functions are anti-symmetric
• Two quarks, we have 4 possible combinations:
(a triplet of isospin 1 states and a singlet isospin 0 state )

• Add an additional u or d quark

• Grouped into an isospin quadruplet and two isospin doublets

• Mixed symmetry states have no definite symmetry under interchange

of quarks 1 3 or 2 3
Combining three quark spin for baryons
• Same mathematics
SU(3) flavour
• Include the strange quark
• ms>mu/md do not have exact symmetry u d s

• 8 matrices have detU=1 and form an SU(3) group

• The 8 matrices are:
• In SU(3) flavor, 3 quark states are :
• SU(3) uds flavour symmetry contain SU(2) ud flavour symmetry

• Isospin
• Ladder operators

• Same matrices for u s and d s

• λ3 and 2 other diagonal matrices are not independent, so de fine λ 8

as the linear combination:
• Only need 2 axes (quantum numbers) : (I3,Y)

Quarks: Anti-Quarks:

All other combinations give zero

Combining uds quarks for baryons
• First combine two quarks:

• a symmetric sextet and anti-symmetric triplet

• Add the third quark

1. Building with sextet:

Mixed symmetry
Symmetric decuplet octet

2. Building with the triplet:

Totally anti-
Mixed symmetry symmetric singlet

• In summary, the combination of three uds quarks decomposes into:

combination of three uds quarks in strangeness, charge
and isospin axes
Octet Decuplet

Charge: Q=I3+1/2 Y
Hypercharge: Y=B+S (B: baryon no.=1/3 for all quarks
S: strange no.)
SU(3) colour
• In QCD quarks carry colour charge r, g, b
• In QCD, the strong interaction is invariant under rotations in colour
space SU(3) colour symmetry
• This is an exact symmetry, unlike the approximate uds flavor symmetry
• r, g, b SU(3) colour states:
(exactly analogous to
u,d,s flavour states)

• Colour states labelled by two quantum numbers: I3c (colour isospin), Yc (colour

Quarks: Anti-Quarks:
Colour confinement
• All observed free particles are colourless
• Colour confinement hypothesis:
only colour singlet states can exist as free particles
• All hadrons must be colourless (singlet)
• Colour wave functions in SU(3) colour same as SU(3) flavour

• Colour singlet or colouerless conditions:

– They have zero colour quantum numbers I3c=0, Yc=0
– Invariant under SU(3) colour transformation
– Ladder operators are yield zero
Baryon colour wave-function
• Combination of two quarks

• No qq colour singlet state Colour confinement bound state of qq does

not exist
• Combination of three quarks

• The anti-symmetric singlet colour wave-function qqq bound states exist

Baryon wave functions
• Quarks are fermions and have anti-symmetric total wave-functions

• The colour wave-function for all bound qqq states is anti-symmetric

• For the ground state baryons (L=0) the spatial wave-function is symmetric

• Two ways to form a totally symmetric wave-function from spin and isospin
1. combine totally symmetric spin and isospin wave-function
2. combine mixed symmetry spin and mixed symmetry isospin states
- both and are sym. under inter-change of quarks
1 2 but not 1 3 , …
- normalized linear combination is totally
symmetric under 1 2, 1 3, 2 3
Baryon decuplet
• The spin 3/2 decuplet of symmetric flavour and symmetric spin wave-
Baryon decuplet (L=0, S=3/2, J=3/2, P=+1)

• If SU(3) flavour were an exact symmetry all masses would be the same
(broken symmetry)
Baryon octet
• The spin 1/2 octet is formed from mixed symmetry flavor and mixed
symmetry spin wave-functions
Baryon octet (L=0, S=1/2, J=1/2, P=+1)

• We can not form a totally symmetric wave-function based on the

anti-symmetric flavour singlet as there no totally anti-symmetric spin
wave –function for 3 quarks
Thank you
Baryons magnetic moments

• Magnetic moment of ground state baryons (L = 0) within

the constituent quark model: μl =0 , μs ≠0

• Magnetic moment of spin 1/2 point particle:

 for constituent quarks: qu=+2/3


 magnetic moment of baryon B:

Baryons magnetic moments

• magnetic moment of the proton:

• further terms are permutations of the first three terms 

Baryons: magnetic moments

• result with quark masses:

• Nuclear magneton